Press Release: Heifer International and Mccormick & Company Announce Partnership To Support Sustainable Incomes for Spice Farmers in Guatemala
Heifer International, McCormick & Company, a global leader in flavor, and Guatemalan spice supplier, Nueva Kerala, today announced the launch of the Cardaforestry project to increase smallholder farmer resilience and improve the quality of cardamom and allspice sourced by McCormick through agroforestry systems by 2023. The project will invest a total of $1,550,000 from the three organizations in smallholder cardamom and allspice farmers, with the investment from Nueva Kerala originating from Heifer Impact Capital, Heifer International’s impact investing arm. The investment from Heifer Impact Capital will allow Nueva Kerala to purchase directly from 500 smallholder cardamom and allspice farmers in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
Nueva Kerala has committed to ensuring at least 15% of the net profit of each sale goes back to the farmer. The business is part owned by spice farmers, helping to create equity in the supply chain and improve the incomes of cardamom and allspice producers.
“More than 60% of the world’s cardamom is grown in Guatemala, but the smallholder farmers behind this prized spice struggle to make a profit. This strategic investment in Nueva Kerala will enable farmers to access the equipment they need to reliably produce and sell more spices, giving them more ownership in the process,” said Gustavo Hernandez Polanco, National Director for Heifer Guatemala. “By sourcing directly from farmer cooperatives through Nueva Kerala, McCormick & Company is strengthening their cardamom and allspice supply chains in a way that’s good for farmers and the planet.”
With demand for spices and ethically sourced food products rising during the pandemic, the partnership will connect farmers to new markets, supporting them to build environmentally sustainable spice enterprises that will continue to turn a profit in the long-term. Implemented by Heifer Guatemala and in partnership with McCormick’s Purpose-led Performance sustainability and procurement initiatives, the Cardaforestry project will support infrastructure investments, including in low-carbon, energy efficient dryers using electricity and solar energy instead of firewood. The dryers will improve spice quality, forest management and carbon sequestration in the soil while reducing deforestation for firewood, ensuring long term economic and environmental sustainability.
“At McCormick we are committed to improving the resiliency of the communities that grow our raw ingredients,” says Donald Pratt, Managing Director for McCormick Global Ingredients Limited. “By partnering with Heifer International, we can support the farmers in our supply chains as they improve their quality of life, while ensuring a long-term commitment to sustainable production and reliable raw material supply.”
Nueva Kerala will manage an $800,000 investment in infrastructure, machinery, personnel and a line of credit to purchase dry cardamom and allspice.
“Farmers are the source of everything we eat, and spice farmers especially are essential to enjoying the meals we eat every day,” said Nueva Kerala founder James McKinley Thomason. “We are proud to partner with Heifer International and McCormick to shorten the supply chain and ensure cardamom and allspice farmers benefit from sharing their high-quality spices with consumers around the world, while producing a product that protects Guatemala’s forests.”
Other partners in the Cardaforestry project include the Guatemalan Ministry of Environment (MARN), National Institute for the Forest (INAB), Council of Protected Areas (CONAP), local governments and financial service providers to improve climate resilience, yields and quality of spice production.
Photo courtesy of Tama66.